The Climate Challenge, developed within the DecarboNet research project and available between 2014 and 2016, aimed to provide an engaging way to help people learn more about Earth’s climate, test their climate knowledge, and promote the adoption of sustainable lifestyle choices. Measuring the distribution of opinions among citizens in a monthly prediction task, for example, shed light on collective awareness processes and harnessed the wisdom of the crowd in ways that benefit society – such as when making tough choices in the face of a high degree of uncertainty.
Climate Challenge Screenshot
Going beyond informing citizens and focusing on triggering environmental action and behavioural change, the Climate Challenge as a platform-independent social media application engages citizens with a competition in the tradition of games with a purpose. The application aims to motivate a wide range of people through a gamification strategy, in which individuals are immersed in a cultural context that favours play and healthy rivalry within a growing online community. This competition-based approach is intended to overcome the perceived lack of personal efficacy.
Advantages of embracing social networking platforms include a large number of potential participants, intrinsic motivation in an environmental context, and effective mechanisms for games with a purpose to detect and combat attempts of cheating or manipulating results. Using real-time updates whenever possible, the strategy to engage Climate Challenge participants and sustain the competition among them includes regular content updates and the unlocking of new task types. To ensure compatibility with a wide range of platforms, T3.1 has chosen a generic HTML5 approach to address desktop and mobile users alike.
Climate Challenge is designed to appeal to a wide range of citizens and leverage their interest in the domain as an additional motivational factor in conjunction with the entertainment value. The application shown in Figure 1 aims to motivate users to learn about changes in Earth’s climate system, and how to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
To harness the player’s intrinsic motivation, to keep them interested in the game and to encourage them to invite their friends, a variety of tasks is being offered – avoiding repetition and resulting in a richer dataset to analyse. Built-in notification systems and real-time progress statistics help engage users and leverage the wisdom of the crowds for scientific purposes. A differentiating feature of Climate Challenge compared to other knowledge acquisition games is its pronounced educational goal, a feature resembling virtual citizen science projects.